Van Morrison awarded honorary knighthood
Van Morrison has been awarded an honorary knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth.
The 69-year-old singer-songwriter has been given one of the highest honours an individual in the UK can achieve, after being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his services to music and tourism in Northern Ireland.
The Belfast-born star said: "Throughout my career I have always preferred to let my music speak for me, and it is a huge honour to now have that body of work recognised in this way."
Elsewhere, Kevin Spacey has also been handed an honorary knighthood, prompting the US actor to say he feels like "an adopted son" of the UK.
The 55-year-old star has been recognised for his services to culture and British theatre, having just completed a 10-year spell as artistic director at London's Old Vic theatre.
Mark Gatiss, who starred in 'All About My Mother' at the Old Vic in 2008, told the BBC: "He's done an incredible job, he's totally revitalised this place and it's the end of an era.
"Not only has he brought his own stage talent as an actor to The Old Vic and given it that bit of Hollywood glamour, if you like, because he is such an amazing stage, as well as screen, actor, but he's really dug the roots of The Old Vic deeper than they were before.
"They've brought actors from America, actors from Britain together and have spread that stage talent all over the world, so where do you start? He can do everything. And he can play the harmonica."
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne and entertainer Michael Ball have been awarded OBEs, while 'Twelve Years A Slave' actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has been handed a CBE.